The long term goal of the OFBiz project is to build a complete, features set rich, universal and configurable "enterprise automation software" (ERP, CRM, CMMS, MRP etc.).
OFBiz is one of the few applications of this type developed by a community, rather than one corporation.
Even if the final long term goal is clear and well-defined ("building a universal enterprise automation software"), the short and medium term tasks to accomplish it are not.
The following is a proposal for the definition of a list of short and medium term tasks list: your input, suggestions and help is welcome. Please add your comment at the bottom of the page.
Prioritized tasks by order of appearance
Introduce a plugin system
Replace Minilang and widgets actions by a Groovy DSL
Not yet prioritized tasks (backlog)
Add support for online contextual help
Improve the Content Management Component
Add at least a versionning system to the content management
The jackrabbit branch has been created https://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/ofbiz/branches/jackrabbit20120501
Improve the SFA Component
have a SFA/CRM which is comparable, in terms of features, to the more popular open source SFA/CRM applications
Improve the Project Manager Component
Improve and enhance the Project Manager Component
Ecommerce component enhancements
See the project specific page here
Complete the migration of older bsh/ftl files to widgets
People willing to help: Nicolas Malin
Change the Entity Engine to be user aware for security, logging
This would be a change to require that a userLogin be passed to all Entity Engine calls. The Entity Engine could then check permissions to see if the user can modify or view that entity, or that record. The Entity Engine could also auto-populate fields like created by and updated by.
There are big downsides to this in that it is a real pain to ALWAYS have to know which user is doing stuff, and lots of our services don't know who the user is or use the "system" user to get around security constraints. The same thing would have to happen if we did this for the EE. This would also require major API refactoring, which we would probably want to precede with a big reduction in API size, as has been started but isn't yet finished.
Maybe the API refactoring wouldn't be necessary if we created a user-aware decorator for the GenericDelegator.
Backend widget & application HTML clean-up
Especially regarding lifecycle mgt of recipes (BoM and production schema) and on in-situ adding materials, production resources and outputs of end and by-products (like we had the discussion on dev ML about in September 2013).
Theme framework (Bootstrap, Zurb, etc.) integration (for both back and frontend)
Introduce Websocket usage
Services exposed as RESTful web services
Note: IMO (jleroux) the HATEOAS point must be totally respected
Client UI refactoring
(this section related with the "UI (User Interface) enhancements" section, to be clarified)
It would be genuinely interesting if we could write a client side form widget interpreter that would delegate generation of the interface to the client side and then supply the "action" interface via AJAX. It may be interesting to approach this as a "bridge" where we begin to layer dynamic AJAX functionality more aggressively onto the existing widgets.
Note: Adrian did something related for a client, where he replaced the current HTML macro by Sensha code
UI (User Interface) enhancements
(this section needs to be checked and possibly split into more accurate sections)
Links in screenlets.
- Have less (or even no) buttons in header
- It was also suggested to use screenlets like gmail does. Notably
- Three buttons max
- Dropdown for other actions
- The idea of duplicating at bottom
- Having breadcrumbs under the title bar
- Using portlets in place of screenlets
- Recently (12/08) it was discussed if we should remove the screenlet's navigation-form-name attribute. There are (at least) 3 reasons for that
- Less information/features than with default (pages numbers, ability to jump to any page)
- The last button does not always work (try with widget.form.defaultViewSize=2 when listing invoices)
- Pagination should be available to the user always in the same way in order to have a consistent UI.
Then we have 2 possibilities
- Remove this attribute and all current uses.
- Keep it but then
- we should at least make it works (last button issue)
- make it consistent with the standard way (direct page access)
To have in the results list form of every FindScreen (optionally) a first column of check boxes that let the user to select several items and than a combo box above the list that let the user to select a command to execute on them.
Applications Tabs (Std Theme)
- The tabs should be sortable not only by alphabetical order in English but in other languages too.
- An user should to be able to position the tabs according to their preference
- Having something to select the apps desired for a "quick links" bar, and maybe have that go beyond just tabbed applications and include individual pages for easy access.
We still need that for 'old' themes but it looks like they will be deprecated with new themes like Bizness Time...
Quicker and intuitive access to basic functionality
Following Bruno's suggestion about Compiere UI. We could put a link to https://localhost:8443/partymgr/control/createnew everywhere we have a party lookup, using the party label at left of the field. Actually we could generalize everywhere we have a lookup for something.
It's easy to click on the Party tab and then on "Create New". But after reading BJ's reading suggestion, it's also an easy way to teach newbies how to do it. Easy for us to introduce, and easy for newbies to use, maybe with a tooltip "click on party to create". This would fill the Condition #2 of the BJ's article above.
Of course being able to show the screen where the choice of the type of party to create is done, and then the screen where data are entered in an Ajax filled CSS hidden/shown window could be our next target. This would allow to not leave the page the user is on and would create a less disturbing environment.
For a first effort, it was suggested that tools tips that direct the user to the necessary steps would be sufficient. Like "create new ($whatever) by clicking on ($whatever1) tab and click on ($whatever2) link" could make the tooltip a template and ($whaterver1-2) is the only things that is a variable. Of course then you can enhance the tool tip to handle links. Then you could just modify the I8N files without touching code "Click here to ($whatever)"
The tooltips labels could be in there own file for an entity. A class that would bes similar to the one that maintains the DB tables can be hooked into Create of the file to add the tooltips. This could be set to defaults based on the Field type.
Now we have the ability to put parms into the label in the I8N files, so the tooltips would have the same ability. Like "Click here to ($whatever)" would turn into "Click here to see the productlist" as a tool tip. You would just have the fieldname like in the labels file.
Barring having a seperate file, then having the tooltip_$fieldname like tooltip_$Phonenumber would work.
Add Conversation scope support to Screen Widget
Several uses cases has workflow that user has to follow. A common example for this in ofbiz is shopping experience. It makes sense to add conversation scope or data members in form widget. It will facilitate development of workflow intensive UI.
Some i18n issues and best practices
- Typography : Typography depends on languages. For instance in French we put a space before and after colons, there are other cases of course. So punctuation should be always part of labels.
- HTML : We already discussed about not putting any HTML tags in labels. Also we should not put any < and & which would not be correctly rendered (http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml/#dt-chardata), so should be escaped.
Some suggestions on user ML
- better error/success messages
- better handling of keyboard tab to move from one field to another
- more and better multi row submit screens
- more informative form fields (e.g. showing descriptions instead of just ids)
- enhancing field interactions (the value of one field can change/ hide/ etc other elements/data in the screen)
- I add something like in SugarCRM: their "info icon" which when you hover over it show related information (for a contact its contact mechs, etc.)